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Local News

Residents ready to fight Joliet trucking project

JOLIET – Another group of residents is trying to fight a trucking business that wants to move into the neighborhood.

“We have a nice little piece of property – a nice neighborhood,” said Rich Graham, who has lived on Spencer Road for five years. “We’re concerned they’re going to bring trucking. That road’s not built for trucking.”

There’s even a sign that prohibits trucks on Spencer Road, Graham’s neighbors said.

But they are concerned the residential area between Briggs Street and the Joliet Country Club will become overrun with trucks now that a company wants to set up a terminal there.

Sun City Transportation Corp. wants to build a 10,000-square-foot building with four loading docks and a parking lot that can accommodate up to 30 trucks in the Spencer Road Industrial Park.

The plan pales in comparison to some of the massive projects being developed in another industrial park about a mile to the southwest – twin 1.4-million-square-foot buildings for Ikea and a 500,000-square-foot Amazon retail fulfillment center.

Residents in that area – around the Laraway Crossings Business Park – protested the added trucks destined for Route 53, which already has become a site of traffic trouble.

Neighbors of the Spencer Road Industrial Park, which is only starting to be developed, are worried Sun City Transportation is the first of multiple businesses that will bring trucking operations close to their homes.

Sun City Transportation owner Darius Kumpys was baffled by the opposition and said his is a small, family-owned company.

Kumpys said there is likely to be only a couple trucks at the terminal at any given time.

“Our trucks are months on the road,” Kumpys said. “Now in Minooka, I have two trucks. That’s all.”

Sun City Transportation has a terminal in Minooka and a parking site in Crest Hill. The Joliet site would allow him to bring his operation together, Kumpys said.

He has applied for a special use permit that would allow the terminal to be built at 1611 Workers Court, a street in the industrial park where growth was stunted several years ago by the recession.

The city previously approved a special use permit for a trucking company that never was built on the site. City staff has recommended approval for Sun City Transportation.

Kumpys learned of the neighbors’ opposition Thursday just minutes before the start of a meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals, which was to decide whether he would get the special use permit. About 20 area residents were in the room. Kumpys asked that the matter be tabled, which it was.

Margie Cepon, a spokeswoman for the neighborhood, said the proposed terminal is too close to nearby residents. That proximity to residences is one issue the residents have.

She also said Workers Court lets out onto Spencer Road rather than Briggs Street, meaning trucks will be headed toward the nearest homes.

“The only access is to Spencer Road,” Cepon said. “There is no way it [Spencer Road] can handle that capacity. There is no planning being done for this industrial park.”

Cepon said the petition for the special use permit is incomplete and dismisses important questions on the form, especially one that asks whether the project would have an impact on the general welfare. The answer on the petition is, “No impact.”

Cepon pointed to the neighbors standing around her outside the room where the zoning board had just tabled the matter until Sept. 17.

“They’re terrified of trucks,” she said.

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